M.D. with Distinction in Medical Education

The M.D. with Distinction in Medical Education recognizes students who distinguish themselves in medical education by developing, evaluating, improving, or testing novel curriculum, evaluation, and/or assessment methods during Medical School. Students who satisfy the requirements will be recognized at graduation and on their diploma as graduating with the degree of Doctor of Medicine, with Distinction in Medical Education.


To train physicians who will be well-prepared to serve as clinician educators of the future.

Objectives and Aims

  • Provide students with foundational knowledge surrounding adult learning theory, curriculum design and implementation, learner and program assessment, and research methods in medical education.
  • Equip students with opportunities to serve as educators and will develop an educational portfolio.
  • Prepare students to be clinician educators of the future.



  • Explore scholarly activity preferences, attend scholarly activity informational sessions
  • Summer after Semester 2: Teaching experience anatomy, TA/tutoring/STARS/JAMP, etc., or Medical Education research project
  • Pre-clerkship enrichment electives: Med Ed I and Med Ed II
  • Semester 3: Explore scholarly activity projects and potential mentors


  • Scholarly activity (12 weeks)


  • Med Ed III elective: Four weeks, providing evaluated teaching experiences, assemble a teaching portfolio, develop/implement curriculum
  • By Dec. 31: Complete all course requirements
  • By March 15: Complete thesis and thesis presentation
  • May: Graduate with Distinction in Medical Education

Application Process

Students must submit a formal application to the program. This application consists of a scholarly activity project proposal, plans for meeting the Distinction requirements, and a CV of the student’s past medical education work. Once approved by the track leader, the student will be considered participating in the Medical Education Distinction program.

The latest the student can declare participation in the program is Jan. 1 of the year prior to the anticipated graduation date. (e.g., by Jan. 1, 2019, for an expected 2020 graduation.)

Requirements for Distinction

Full-Time Medical Education Related Activities

This is the major requirement of the Distinction to ensure students have acquired the foundation of knowledge and experience to promote success as an academic physician of the future. During these 24 weeks the student should have no other scholastic requirements. Activities conducted through the summer research program or summer tutoring at UT Southwestern (offered after the first year of medical school) combined with the 12 weeks of scholarly activity and a required fourth year Medical Education elective will fulfill the requirement. Other activities may fulfill the requirement, but must be reviewed and approved by the track leader for Medical Student Research.

Written Thesis

As the project nears completion, a thesis will be submitted to the predetermined committee describing the project rationale and description, outcome/results, conclusions, and recommendations for future work. This committee is responsible for verifying the rigor and scope of the project. This thesis is expected to be at least 30 pages and should be in the form of a manuscript. The thesis must have been completed and presented to the committee by March 15 of the post-clerkship year.

Thesis Presentation

A formal presentation of the results will be made to an audience that includes the members of the student's committee. This will demonstrate the student’s capability of succinctly communicating his/her work to colleagues. This presentation must be completed by March 15 of the graduating semester for inclusion on diploma.

Additional requirements

The students will be expected to complete the Medical Education I and II Enrichment electives, either in real time or asynchronously via online modules. As part of the Medical Education III elective, students will be required to complete a teaching portfolio.


A general timeline looks like:

  • During the clerkship period and before Jan. 1 the year prior to anticipated graduation: Complete an application for Distinction
  • Aug. 15 of graduation year: Confirm that you are still seeking the Distinction and meet with your mentor to confirm that you have planned all the requirements.
  • Jan. 1: Have all course requirements completed for the thesis
  • Feb. 1: Begin circulating thesis for committee approval and have presentation scheduled.
  • March 15 of graduation year: Deadline to complete the manuscript, present thesis, and submit to peer-reviewed manual